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Myths and Truths About Parkinson’s Disease

In Australia, Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurological disease after dementia, affecting an estimated 70,000 people in the country. Despite this, there is still much to learn about the condition, and many people have been misinformed by myths with no foundation. If your ageing loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s or has been exhibiting symptoms connected with the disease, you may have a few questions. North Coast Parkinson’s care experts want to dispel some of the myths surrounding this disease and inform you with the facts.

Seniors without Tremors Are Healthy

Many people believe Parkinson’s disease only affects movement and those who are not experiencing tremors must be feeling fine. However, Parkinson’s is a complex neurodegenerative disorder that can affect almost every aspect of a senior’s life. Even if your loved one does not have involuntary twitches and tremors, he or she may still be experiencing depression, nausea, cognitive decline, impulsive behaviour, and insomnia.

The Disease Is Preventable

There is currently no way to prevent Parkinson’s disease, and researchers believe this disorder is the result of genetics and environmental factors. As a general rule, a healthy senior who takes care of his or her body has a much lower risk of developing Parkinson’s. A recent study published in the European Journal of Neurology suggests following the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s by 50 percent.

Parkinson’s Is Fatal

One of the most common misconceptions about Parkinson’s disease is that it is always fatal. This disorder can reduce a senior’s longevity, but it is actually the complications of the disease that can be dangerous, rather than the disease itself. Parkinson’s often progresses more quickly in older adults, with most experiencing incapacitating side effects within 10 to 20 years. A comprehensive treatment plan including lifestyle changes and medications such as levodopa can help delay these side effects.

Lifestyle Changes Will Not Help

Not only can healthy lifestyle choices reduce your loved one’s risk of Parkinson’s, but they can also slow the rate of progression after a diagnosis has been made. In addition to dietary changes, regular exercise is extremely important for seniors who have tremors. Strength training routines have been shown to reduce the severity of involuntary movements, and exercise can also have a positive impact on your loved one’s posture, gait, muscle stiffness, general lethargy, cramps, soreness, and depression. If your loved one needs assistance maintaining a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine, consider hiring a North Coast live-in home caregiver to help.

A Parkinson’s diagnosis does not mean your loved one’s quality of life needs to be sacrificed. If he or she needs some help managing the condition or accomplishing tasks around the house, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can assist with medication reminders, exercise and mobility, cooking, and much more. For more information on the elderly care North Coast families trust, call one of our experienced Care Managers today at (02) 6646 3527.